Thursday, 14 November 2019

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Rangoon-Mandalay highway toll tax doubled

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Mounting maintenance costs have pushed up the toll tax on the Rangoon-Mandalay highway twofold, representatives of two companies responsible for the upkeep of part of the road said.

Shwe Thanlwin and Olympic Companies have asked the Ministry of Construction in Naypyitaw to increase the toll tax to cover rising maintenance costs. The ministry in turn has permitted collection of taxes at new rates. 

"We submitted our request to the ministry last. Other companies made such requests earlier. The ministry has permitted all companies to raise toll tax. We raised it two fold on 21 October,"   they told Mizzima.

Shwe Thanlwin is maintaining the Pegu-Nyaung Laybin part on the highway.

An official the Olympic Company maintaining the Nyaung Laybin-Phyu part of the highway also said that they had doubled the toll tax.

The other companies connected to the highway maintenance followed suit after Asia World Company doubled toll tax on two parts on this highway since October 1.

The Rangoon-Mandalay highway is divided into nine parts and the Ministry of Construction has given maintenance contracts to seven companies namely Max Myanmar, Shwe Thanlwin, Yuzana, Thaw Dar Win, Olympics, Asia World and Kanbawza. These companies are responsible for regular maintenance of their respective portion of the highway.

There are nine toll gates and 11 car weighing stations on the entire stretch of highway.

The toll tax depends on the type of car and weight of cargo trucks. All these vehicles have to pay bridge use fees, city limit entry fees, and weighing machine fees to these companies. 

Before October this year, the average costs incurred by each truck plying on the highway was only around Kyat 200,000 for a trip but after the hike in toll tax it costs over Kyat 300,000, a transport operator in Bayint Naung Commodity Exchange in Mayangon Township said.

To cover the toll tax hike, the transport companies are charging customers at increased rates.

"Vehicle owners cannot operate their transport business without taking extra service charge from their customers after the toll tax was raised. Even though after increasing transport service charge, the truck owners cannot earn extra money, they make the usual profit," a transport business operator said.

Freight charges in the middle of last month were Kyat 5,000 for each drum of edible oil, heavy but low volume goods (called goods kept on base) was Kyat 19,000 per ton and light weight but high volume was Kyat 45 per viss (3.6 lbs). Now they have been raised to Kyat 5,300, Kyat 21,000 and Kyat 50 respectively.

Construction materials such as nails, mild steel sheets, corrugated iron roof, foodstuff such as rice and edible oil are called 'Kone Kyit', which can be kept at the bottom of the truck. Goods such as instant noodle, vermicelli, plastics and chairs are called 'Kone Pwa' which must be placed on top of  the 'Kone Kyit'.

Materials such as nails, cement, CI roof, foodstuff like rice, edible oil, betel nut, fishery products like fish paste, dried fish among others are transported along the 432-mile long Rangoon-Mandalay highway by cargo trucks from Rangoon to Mandalay. Farm produce, wood, fertilizer and sugar are also transported from Mandalay to Rangoon along this road.

(Edited by Ye Yint Aung)


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